The 100 greatest VIDEO GAMES of all time (60-41)

100-1  |  80-61 |  40-21  | 20-1

60. Crime and Punishment (1984)
Platforms: Commodore 64, Apple II

Crime and Punishment was an excellent simulation game that put you in charge of reviewing numerous cases from first degree murder to petty larceny.  You were asked to hand down a decision based on: the details of the crime (which would include the murder weapon, relationship of victim/suspect, property loss or damage), Offender’s criminal record (prior arrests/convictions, juvenile court blotter, reputation), and my favorite; the pre-sentence report, which included the mental history of the suspect, the courtroom/prosecution details, employment history, the suspect’s upbringing and any other personal details.  After you sorted all that information out (all really well-written and believable material) you were asked to render your judgment.  This is when the twist comes in… YOUR judgment was then judged against the decision of an ACTUAL judge and you got to see how closely you matched against a professional.  Although the game was short on graphics, it was huge on replayability and tension making it one of the most fun simulation game experiences I’ve ever had.
59. Madden NFL 97 (1996)
Platforms: PS1

While I’ve never been much of a football fan (baseball and basketball are my passions), I really got into this videogame.  I guess, cause it was the first major football game to be created in the 32-bit gaming era. For the time, the graphics were completely amazing and exciting and really gave us the first lifelike football play on a console.  This was also the first edition of Madden to implement the use of a salary cap when customizing team rosters, which added a greater depth. The further addition of a team of real free agents (as opposed to the prior blank slate used in Madden 96) which can be traded and added to other teams’ rosters made it a deeper more enriching experience than ever before. The thing is, I’m not an expert on the game, so I can only go by own personal take on things.  I choose this, ‘cause it was the first of its kind (in the modern gaming era) in a cherished franchise that continues to sell wildly, and the one that started it all deserves the nod.
58. Xenophobe (1987)
Platforms: Arcade

Xenophobe was a unique multiplayer arcade game.  The screen was split up into three horizontal sections, one for each player. This allowed the players to cooperate, but also allowed them to wander around freely, a feature not found on most cooperative multiplayer games and made for an exciting explorative feel. With most games that allowed multiple players at once, all players were bound by the edges of the screen (that is, all the players had to be in the same general area on the screen, so it could contain them all) with Xenophobe such restrictions didn’t apply, and because the game featured such high resolution for its time, the split screen didn’t detract from the game’s graphic appeal. The basic goal of each level was to defeat all the aliens before time runs out. Levels may contained more than one floor, and players used elevators (and sometimes holes in the floor) to move between floors to defeat all of the aliens. Players could also pick up more powerful weapons and other items to help in their eradication of the aliens. These hostile aliens (known as “Xenos”) came in different forms. Their eggs (similar to the eggs in Alien), could attach itself to the player and drain health. If wasn’t killed, it eventually matured into a “Roller”, tougher enemies, as they can ball themselves up and roll around while impervious to the players’ guns.  The coolest thing about the game, however, was the exploration involved. As players went through the various maps (Rocket ship, Moon Base, Space City, etc.), they encountered various items to be picked up  (human skulls, lab vials, fire extinguishers, etc.) for bonus points. Other items like grenades, knives, food were immediately useful to the players (food replenishes the players’ health) and still other items (disks, tools, codes, etc.) were useful in the right room. All this making it an extremely deep game, especially for the arcade.
57. Super Sprint (1986)
Platforms: Arcade game
Super Sprint was one of my favorite arcade games ever.  A fairly simple racing game with nice clean graphics, up to three players could drive simultaneously on a circuit against each other or against cars controlled by the computer. The circuits are viewed from above and always fit on the screen, so the game never scrolls. After three laps the winner advances to the next circuit. There were 8 circuits in total, but the game only ends if gamers can get to race 85 where the bonus Super Speedway circuit is played. As the player goes to higher levels, more and more obstacles appeared on the track, like oil puddles and tiny moving tornadoes. If the car touched them, the player lost control over the car for a short time while it is sliding and spinning. Driving into a wall with high speed or falling from one of the bridges destroyed the car, but a helicopter quickly appeared to replace it.  What I loved about it was that you could customize your car by collecting wrenches that lay on the track. The player could exchange three of them for improved traction, better acceleration or higher top speed, which made you feel like a real racer.  This was a great one to play with some buddies.
56. Wii Sports Resort (2009)
Platforms: Nintendo Wii

So far, I really haven’t been a big fan of the Wii console, the games I’ve seen really haven’t done it for me, call me an old-schooler, call me what you will.  However, I do love this game, mainly for the bowling and ping pong games.  Without a doubt, this game features the most fun and realistic versions of these two games, and makes for some serious competitive gaming against a friend or two. Set in a beach resort on an island called Wuhu Island, you get to choose to play from twelve different sports, some more fun than others.  Like the original Wii Sports, each game is played by holding the Wii Remote (and in some cases, the Nunchuk) in a manner similar to the actual sport being replicated. For example, in the Archery level, the player holds the Wii Remote vertically to hold the bow, and pulls back the Nunchuk to pull back the bow’s string. The new feature that Wii Sports Resort brings is Wii MotionPlus compatibility, which enables 1:1 control and allows the games to be played with greater accuracy. For example, in Wii Sports Tennis, the player’s shots were all determined by which direction the Wii Remote is swung like a racket. Wii Sports Resort offers a new variation, the aforementioned Table Tennis (ping pong), the player has greater control over adding spin to the ball by twisting the Wii Remote while swinging, thus making it extremely realistic.  Finally you don’t need to buy a huge cumbersome able to experience this much-beloved pastime!  Plus, I love how everyone is wearing these cheesy Hawaiian shirts… really gives you the feeling of being on a vacation… Great stuff.
55. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (1984)
Platforms: Apple II, Macintosh, Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST and the IBM PC.

Ahh… at last we get to the fabulous INFOCOM text adventure…. One of the highlights of my youth! The text adventure, or interactive fiction game, sported NO graphics at all.  The pictures were entirely in your head.  It was basically a novel that you could interact with (hence the above-mentioned moniker) through a series of questions, actions and extremely challenging puzzle solving.  What the games lacked in graphics, however, they more than made up for in the gloriously detailed packaging and unbelievably well-written stories and parsers (parsers were the text recognition system, allowing the game to understand complex sentences that you would enter).  The first of these games I would like to single out (there might be others, you never know) was the maddening, hilarious and ultimately supremely satisfying Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  The game loosely mirrored a portion of the famous book and series’ (by Douglas Adams, who actually wrote this game) plot, beginning with the impending destruction of Arthur Dent’s house and subsequent demolition of the Earth by Vogons.  After being rescued from open space by the Heart of Gold and figuring out how to activate the Infinite Improbability Drive, the player was hurled through space and time, assuming the roles of Ford Prefect, Zaphod Beeblebrox and Trillian at various intervals. (The question of the player character’s identity at any time can be answered by the WHO AM I command.) For the majority of the game, Arthur Dent is the main player character.  This game was HARD… with a capital H.  I remember being stuck on how to get the babel fish and having a huge conference with my geek friends on how to accomplish this task, we finally all figured it out.  It was that kind of experience.  Unbelievably engrossing and challenging.  Sadly, the game never got its promised sequel as Douglas Adams died shortly after this game was produced.
54. Super Tennis (1991)
Platforms: SNES

For the longest time, Super Tennis, by Nintendo, reigned in my mind as the greatest tennis experience in the history of gaming.  What made it great was the terrifically solid game play.  In tennis, which videogame-wise is just Pong, it’s all about the responsiveness of the controls, and this game had it in spades.  You could lob and smash and serve with accuracy.  The ball physics might not have been exactly realistic, but it’s absolutely unnecessary.  It provided me hours of entertainment, and it was just as fun playing against the computer or a friend.   The game itself featured three different modes, Singles mode, in which you can compete against a human or chosen computer opponent, Doubles mode, in which you and a human team-mate can face the cpu, or you can each pair with a CPU opponent, or even one player can pair with a CPU opponent to face two other computer opponents and, finally, Circuit mode, which featured a wide range of tours you could battle through, each tournament earning yourself ranking points, the ultimate aim being finishing numero UNO in the rankings. You got to choose from a variety of surfaces to play: Hard, Lawn or Clay, which added to the variety.  The graphics were vintage Nintendo, clean, colorful and inviting.  I especially loved the announcer with her clipped, British accent.
53. Resident Evil 1
Platforms: PS1

The game that started the “survival horror” craze, Resident Evil 1 is, in every sense of the word, a video game classic.  Expanding on the ground laid down by the Alone in the Dark series, Resident Evil upped the ante with a tension-filled atmosphere, compelling story and a huge array of terrifying mutated creatures that keep coming at you throughout the game.  The story is mainly set in a spooky mansion you cannot escape from.  Your character is a member of a special law enforcement task force who must uncover its mysteries ultimately escape alive.  Easy, right? Uh uh… it’s a constant struggle fraught with danger at every turn. Luckily, you have a few weapons you can choose from such as a combat knife, a handgun, or a shotgun to name a few, all of which require ammo that is in limited supply.  If you run out you must find more, and if you can’t find more, then you’re screwed.  You’re able to save your game on typewriters that are spread out through the area.  However, you need a typewriter ribbon to do so, and they are in short supply as well.  Your health can be restored with the help of  first-aid sprays or three types of healing herbs that can be mixed together in different combinations for different healing effects, and you guessed it, THESE are also in short supply.  This all add to the urgency and frenetic pace of the game.  The game’s graphics are moody and beautiful, consisting of 3D polygonal characters and objects superimposed over pre-rendered backdrops with pre-determined (or “fixed”) camera angles. Now for the only sore point of the game (and most of the Resident Evils, for that matter) the dreaded control system… Unlike most third-person action games, the player controls the character similarly to a remote control car or a first-person shooter by pushing the d-pad (or analog stick) left or right to rotate the character into one of the 360 possible angles and then move the character forward or backwards by the pushing the d-pad up or down.  This doesn’t add up to the most forgiving or easiest of experiences, but it also adds to the challenge.
52. Murder on the Zinderneuf (1983)
Platforms: Apple II, Commodore 64, Atari 400/800, PC (booter)

Set in 1936, you play a detective traveling across the Atlantic aboard the world’s most luxurious dirigible, the Zinderneuf. A craft that is full of high-profile personalities from all walks of life. Suddenly, a murder takes place, and it is up to YOU to identify the culprit before the ship lands.  Sound good?  You can bet that it was.  This remarkable game, gave one the feeling of being in a classic Agatha Christie novel.  Given a choice of eight detectives to play, each with a distinct personality, you must search the rooms of the dirigible for possible clues, as well as interview passengers to identify the killer. You needed to carefully choose your method of questioning the suspects as well as choosing the right approach meant that a character would be more likely to offer useful clues. Once you were satisfied that you had the culprit in your grasp, you then had the option of accusing them directly, or waiting until enough clues are found to prove the hunch. If you were wrong, then the person you accused would not speak to you for the remainder of the game. A denial does not always mean the detective is wrong, only that more proof is required for the murderer to confess.  If it turned out you were correct, then the killer would explain the motives behind their crime, and you were given one of six ratings based on the effectiveness of their investigation: (from Super Sleuth to Feeble Flatfoot) The great thing about this game was you were presented with a different murderer and victim each time the game was played. This, combined with the depth of narrative detail in the stories and characters, made the MotZ one of the most replayable games you could get.
51. Super Mario World (1992)
Platforms: SNES

Starring the most recognizable character in the history of gaming, Super Mario World was the fourth in the Super Mario series and the inaugural game of the fantastic Super Nintendo console (it initially came packaged with it).  Once again, the plot involves Mario (or the constant red-headed stepchild Luigi) traversing different lands on a quest to rescue Princess Toadstool who has been kidnapped by ubiquitous Bowser.  It was a critical and commercial success, gaining a legacy and selling over 20 million copies worldwide.  Unlike previous Mario games, which take place in the Mushroom Kingdom and surrounding areas, Super Mario World takes place in a new place called “Dinosaur Land”. During the course of the game, you travel through the worlds fighting mini bosses along the way, until you finally meet Boweser and rescue the forever hapless Princess. Levels are accessed through a world map; there are nine worlds, each containing several levels, many of which have a second, secret exit. Once you finish one it unlocks a path on the map allowing you to move on to further levels. As usual, Mario must run, jump, swim, use warp pipes, collect coins (collecting 100 earns him an extra life), defeat enemies, navigate platforms, open doors and avoid other hazards to be successful. The abundant amount of secret levels makes this game infinitely re-playable. The most notable addition, however, of this classic, is the introduction of Yoshi, your adorable and sometimes maddening (he has a tendency to run away scared) dinosaur companion whom you can ride. Conveniently, Yoshi is also able to eat most enemies, which makes him extremely useful to you on your lengthy adventure.  What else can we say?  This was one for the ages.
50. Gruds in Space (1983)
Platform: Apple ][

First off… BEST NAME EVER FOR A VIDEOGAME… Gruds in Space was a graphic adventure where you, as the pilot of the Earth vessel USAC 9400, were instructed to find fuel for the Earth warships that have exhausted their supply at the battlefront. You needed to find the fuel and bring it to the cargo ship on Pluto as you journeyed across the solar system solving difficult puzzles and battling alien invaders along the way, like the aforementioned Gruds who you meet on Saturn.  It’s a pretty standard graphic/text adventure, using conventional interactive fiction commands, like EXAMINE, USE and TAKE objects, SHOOT, etc.. Mostly I remember that you had to find these different colored orbs and at the end you collect a MILLION bucks as a reward.
49. Tapper AKA Root Beer Tapper (1983)
Platform: Arcade Game

One of my favorite, and most frustrating arcade games. The player must draw and serve drinks to the patrons (four bars in total)  as they slowly advance towards the player. If any customers reach the player’s end of the bar, they grab the player-as-bartender and toss him out the far end of the bar, costing the player a life. The player serves customers by filling a mug at one of the four taps. Once the mug is full, the player releases the tap which automatically slides the mug towards the advancing customer. Customers catch mugs that are slid towards them, as long as they are not already drinking a beer, or otherwise distracted. If a mug is not caught by a customer (whether the customer is already drinking or distracted, or if there is no customer), then it falls off the bar on the other end, resulting in a loss of a life for the player. If a customer does catch the mug, though, then he or she is pushed back some amount towards the opposite end of the screen. The goal is to push the customer completely off the screen, but if they are not then they will stay and consume their drink in place. When a customer finishes his drink, he slides the empty mug back towards the player, after which the customer resumes his advance on the player and so on and on… It was repetitive but annoyingly addictive.  There were two versions of this game.. one where you served beer and then they changed it to root beer so as not to be a bad influence on the kiddies I assume.
48. Pitfall (1982)
Platform: Atari 2600

This was the best game specifically written for the Atari 2600, sporting the best graphics and the most interesting premise. You play as a character known as Harry through a maze-like jungle in an attempt to recover 32 treasures in a 20 minute period. Over the course of these 20 minutes, Pitfall Harry had to tackle dense forests, snakes, bats and insects.  Along the way, he must negotiate numerous hazards, including tar pits, quicksand, water holes, rolling logs, rattlesnakes, scorpions, walls, fire, bats, and crocodiles. Harry may jump over or otherwise avoid these obstacles by timing his climbing, running and ducking, and in certain places he can swing on a vine to avoid them.  A few sequels followed throughout the years some better than others, but none attained the heights of the original, which, graphically and conceptually was so head and shoulders above the rest of the Atari games and remained so through the life of the system.
47. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002)
Platform: PS2

Wow.. I can’t believe it’s already been 8 years since this game has come out.  The second installment of the hugely popular Grand Theft Auto series, to me this one had the best vibe and was overall the most focused and interesting.  This is because it was set in a specific time (the eighties), and they totally nailed the vibe of that goofy era. The story revolves around Mafia member Tommy Vercetti, who was recently released from prison. After being involved in a drug deal gone wrong, Tommy seeks out those responsible while building a criminal empire and seizing power from other criminal organizations in the city. The city is a ersion of Miami and it has that Miami Vice feeling down cold.. The story is great and the missions are challenging, but, frankly, the best part of the game was just driving around the mammoth environment listening to the radio stations playing that 80s music. Really cool game.
46. The Guitar Hero Series (2005-Present)
Platform: the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii

Some are better than others, but I can’t single out any specific title, so Im just gonna go with the whole massively successful series.  Basically, the game is a conceptual masterpiece. The idea to interactively “play along” with popular music, thus taking the air guitar to another level was a stroke of genius.  As a musician I fought against the idea for a few years, frustrated that millions of kids were mashing buttons on a controller and thinking that was playing music.  Then I broke down and bought it… and I was totally hooked.  Actually, as a musician the game came really easy for me and made it fun on a whole other level than the non-players experience.  I still say you should go out and learn an instrument, but I don’t hold a grudge anymore.  At least it engages kids and puts them in the ballpark of starting to be interested in it.  Plus it’s just a blast.  At this point after the millions of sequels it might be getting a little tired and a reset is in order, but the overall idea was a step forward in videogame making.. a classic in every respect.
45. Super Mario 2 (1988)
Platform: NES

Super Mario 2 was the most bizarre of all the Marios, with its strange turnip pulling and masked creatures.  This might be because it was not originally developed as a Mario game, but some strange Japanese game called Doki Doki Panic.  Either way, I loved it.  Besides the original, this was the only one I ever beat in one session. You could play as a few characters, including the Princess.. which is what I played, because it was the easiest character to beat the game with. Unlike most Mario games, no enemies in this game can be defeated by jumping on them. Instead, the player character must throw something at the enemy. Characters are able to pluck vegetables from the ground and throw them at opponents to defeat them . Other opponents can often be picked up and thrown as well, and several levels feature blocks marked with the word “POW”, which when picked up and thrown kills all the enemies on screen at impact. Each stage contains one or more hidden flasks of potion. When plucked and thrown, a potion creates a door to Sub-Space, an alternate world in which coins are collected instead of vegetables when plucked. The mushrooms used to increase the health meter can also be found here. The player automatically leaves Sub-Space after a short time. The coins collected are used in a slot machine mini-game played between stages. This mini-game is the chief means of obtaining additional lives in this installment of the Mario Bros. series.  In short, it stands out as a unique title in the Mario world and worthy of commendment.
44. The Orange box (2007)
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, Windows

The Orange Box is a video game compilation for Microsoft Windows, the Xbox 360, and the PlayStation 3.  It contains a whopping five games, all powered by Valve’s Source engine. Two of the games included, Half-Life 2 and its first stand-alone expansion, Episode One, were previously released as separate products. Three new games are also contained within the compilation: the second stand-alone expansion, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, the puzzle game Portal, and Team Fortress 2, the multiplayer game sequel to the Quake modification, Team Fortress.   All this makes it the biggest bargain ever offered to the videogame buying public.  I have to admit, I came way late to the popular Half Life series, but upon playing it I can see what the hub bub was about.  It’s a fantastically designed game mixing in puzzle solving and action in a creepy 1984esque world all adding up to a wonderful immersive experience that stays with you.  It’s on the short side but that’s where all the extra games come in, Portal being a real winner in terms of design.
43. Arkanoid (1986)
Platform: Arcade Game

This arcade game was basically a reworking of the videogame pioneer game, Breakout, with a few extras.  It was those extras that made it one of my favourite games.  What were the extras? …well certain bricks now contained canisters that dropped down each one enhancing your power in some way.. one was a laser gun you could satisfyingly blast the bricks apart with (my favourite), another slowed things down, another stuck the ball to your paddle o you could aim, another made your paddle larger and so forth… Plus the bricks were now arranged in beautiful patterns some took more than one his to break through and after 33 agonizing levels there was a boss fight where you were pitted against this huge amorphous creature that looked exactly like he evil character at the end of the movie Tron..  The sound effects on this game always reminded me of a pinball machine.. something familiar and comfortable about it.  Those extras made all the difference..
42. Shadow Complex (2009)
Platform: Xbox 360 Live

When Shadow Complex came out last year, it was a surprise sensation.  For only 15 bucks you could download it and play through the Xbox 360 Live network and experience one of the greatest platforming games ever made. It’s presented in what they call 2.5D format; which means the game world is fully three-dimensional, but the player can only move in two dimensions, simulating the environment of a classic side-scroller. Enemies can, however, move in any direction, and auto-aim is utilized to allow the player to fire at nearby enemies or objects both inside and outside of the 2D plane. The player can use the right control stick to aim with a laser sight. Its gameplay is reminiscent of vintage games like Castlevania yet with gorgeous graphics and sound.  In short, it is a masterpiece. The game rewards the player with experience points as they complete objectives and defeat enemies. The player can gain up to fifty experience levels, each level boosting basic attributes of the character. These experience levels grant the player skills such as improved gunfire precision or damage resistance. Special rewards such as revealing the full map and unlimited special ammo are granted at specific levels. When the player starts a new game, they will lose all the weapons and items that they have acquired, but will keep the character’s experience level and any benefits they have already received from that experience. In addition to the main campaign, a number of challenge levels, called “Proving Grounds”, are available, generally requiring the player to make it to the exit of a room using a limited set of items and health. Players are ranked based on time of completion and any scoring objectives when they complete the level. Scores and other statistics from the main campaign and the training group are tracked via online leaderboards.  All this makes the value unbeatable… CANT WAIT FOR SHADOW COMPLEX 2!!!
41. MVP Baseball 2005 (2005)
Platform: PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube

I’m a HUGE baseball fan. And as any baseball fan will tell you, baseball games are tricky… They never seem to have EVERYTHING.. like other sports games do.  They always end up screwing something up that is critical, whether it be the gameplay or presentation or horrible statistics or graphics. This game, however, had it all and presented it fluidly, making it, up until very recently, the greatest baseball videogame ever.  End of story. It was the culmination of the Triple Play series by EA (a series up until then had its ups and downs) and this game was a masterpiece.  The gameplay, the graphics, the inclusion of three levels of minor league farm clubs. Two legends teams, 63 legendary players, 15 classic stadiums, five fantasy parks, and more than 100 retro uniforms to play in made this a joy to play. Add in the millions of modes (an exhibition mode, a manager’s mode, two different franchise modes, a scenario editor, and a handful of baseball-themed practice games)  and you had a game you could play for years… which I did, because no game compared to it.  It’s still amazing to this day.

100-1  |  80-61 |  40-21  | 20-1

4 Comments for “The 100 greatest VIDEO GAMES of all time (60-41)”

  1. The 100 Greatest VIDEO GAMES of all time (80-61) | THE ZEITGEISTY REPORT

    [...] |  60-41 |  40-21  | [...]

  2. The 100 greatest VIDEO GAMES of all time | THE ZEITGEISTY REPORT

    [...] |  60-41  |  40-21  |  [...]

  3. The 100 greatest VIDEO GAMES of all time (40-21) | THE ZEITGEISTY REPORT

    [...] |  80-61  |  60-41  |  [...]

  4. The 100 greatest VIDEO GAMES of all time (20-1) | THE ZEITGEISTY REPORT

    [...] |  80-61  |  60-41  |  [...]

Leave a Reply